I’ve taken the day off and I’m sitting in the cafe at Kinokuniya. I have loved book stores for as long as I can remember and this one is truly one of the best in Sydney city. The place is enormous and I could lose myself for hours amongst the blue and beech bookshelves and unkempt piles of novels, memoirs, comics, stationery and postcards. There is something so alluring about bound pages; the variety of colour, design and size of each book cover; the stories, wisdom and graphics just waiting to be devoured by the hungry human mind; the blank pages of a fresh notebook.
Bookstores are both the haven for my soul and the battle field for my wallet. It is almost impossible to walk into a bookstore and not walk out with something. There have been moments when I’ve had to forbid myself from walking into one for fear of breaking my budget and walking out with more than I could possibly carry home, let alone read in my lifetime.
And if it’s not a pile of books to read, it’s a pile of empty notebooks to scrawl and scribble in. Beautiful stationery — Moleskines and fine-point pens, in particular — are my absolute undoing (and it doesn’t help me at all that there is an entire bookcase in Kinokuniya dedicated to Moleskine books, pens and bags).
There is so much that can be said for the comfort and escape that comes from reading a good book or writing out the frustration in a journal. That is why, when my mind is going crazy, I walk into a bookstore and I feel at ease. And hopeful again. Bookstores – with their shelves packed with an endless wealth of knowledge and adventure – remind me my problems are minuscule and temporary. Bookstores remind me that there is a bigger, better world out there (and some worlds that have yet to be created) and that a twist in my plot could be just a page away.
So here I am.
It is a brilliant, sunny Autumn day in Sydney, I have a goats cheese tart on the table in front of me, waiting to be eaten. I am watching as children and adults line up at the Kinokuniya counters, clutching their chosen books excitedly.
One day… hopefully… my own story (stories?) will join the ones that hold such a privileged space on these shelves and will provide some other struggling creative the same sense of satisfaction, peace and excitement that all that books I’ve indulged in have had the pleasure of giving to me.